Have you ever really paid attention to the sounds around us? Not the arguing neighbors, honking horns, or blaring whistles as a freight train blows though town. The other sounds. The ones that are part of everyday life, but at the same time comforting in some sort of way.
One of my favorites is in the Forest Post Office. Every single time I walk through that front door a warm, fuzzy feeling comes over me when I hear the sound of the ceiling fan in the lobby. The rotating click, click, click reminds me of something, and many things all at the same time, but I’ve yet to lay my finger on what it is, exactly, that gives me that feeling.
The first time I heard it I thought of the old Newton Post Office that is very similar to the one in Forest. I was born and reared in Newton so all the “old” stuff in that town was a huge part of my childhood back when children rode their bikes to town and climbed the stairs to the library in the top of City Hall, or wandered into the Post Office next door just to cool off.
That click, click, click, reminds me of those days. It also reminds me of the John Grisham book, and movie, A Time To Kill. I would have to watch it again to see if there is a scene that has a similar sound or not. Perhaps it is just the time and the setting of the movie that is also reminiscent of my childhood.
That click, click, click might also be triggering long faded memories of old western movies my friends and I watched in a Saturday afternoon matinee at the Roxie Theatre. After the movie we would grab our bikes from the curb, where they had been safely stored for hours, and shoot across Main Street to the side-by-side TWL or Ben Franklin stores, for some Laffy Taffy, or a new yo-yo, or even an ice cream cone, served up by Ruby Houston, next door at the Rexall Drugs.
It’s not just the click, click, click of that ceiling fan, though, it is also the silence in the Post Office that surrounds the click, click, click. The silence, it seems, magnifies the sound. That is the part that sometimes I think reminds me of one of those old Westerns.
It seems like just before a gun battle in a dusty saloon town there was silence and then maybe the sound of spurs on the wooden sidewalk, or perhaps the sound of the creak of the boards beneath Clint Eastwood’s feet, or the saloon doors swinging back and forth, back and forth, after John Wayne strutted through.
I’m not sure what the memory is that gives me the warm and fuzzies when I walk into the Forest Post Office, but something about that click, click, click certainly does. Something about it makes me long for more, makes me want to linger and let my mind wander further into the past.
Listen closely the next time you go to drop off a letter, pick up some mail, or buy a book of stamps. Don’t look at it, just listen to that old ceiling fan slowly spinning round and round and let your mind run free. I bet you, too, will think of a movie, or a memory of days gone by. Simpler days, days without worries, days without woes.
Days when kids rode their bikes to town, and barking dogs chased their tails and that made them laugh. Days when straight chairs with cowhide seats lined the front porch and the men leaned them back against the porch post and dozed, and shooed away flies, and wasps, and other critters while that same old dog rolled over on his back, feet stuck high in the air, on MawMaw’s dusty, dirt drive.
Chinaberries squishing between toes and Catalpa worms creeping up the wooden front steps hoping to get into the house for who knows why. Those kinds of things. Things from days of old. Yep, that’s what that click, click, click will do to you. It will remind you of the warm, fuzzy feeling days of old.
I think this might be a fine time to go check the mail!